As of this Thursday, another 1.55 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits. That brings the current total to over 44 million workers that are unfortunately going through a rough employment patch. As a result, numerous workers are now going to have a gap in their employment history and resume. This circumstance can bring up a challenging interview question as these workers search for their next opportunities. If you are in this situation, this is how you can successfully answer any question that may come up regarding an employment gap.
Be straightforward and honest
The best thing you can do when this question arises is to be honest and upfront about your situation. If you were laid off because of the Coronavirus, don’t be ashamed. A significant chunk of American workers is in the same boat as you. And if you were laid off or fired for a completely different reason, you should still be honest. Your interviewers will likely check your references and with your last employer if you make it to the finish line of the hiring process. If you are caught in a lie, it won’t look good, and you may even have your candidacy pulled.
Whatever your reason, keep your answer positive.
Share what you have done with your free time
Speaking of positive, if you have been out of work and need to explain your employment gap, share the good things that you were able to accomplish in the meantime. If you completed a course to improve your knowledge on a subject or earned a certification, share that! It shows that your lapse in employment didn’t stop you from bettering yourself and enhancing your career.
Another way to approach your answer is to share your self-reflection. Did you take this time to reflect on your career and decide where you would like to be? That’s a great answer, too! There is nothing wrong with taking this hardship and using it to pivot your career in another direction.
Keep it short and sweet
Regardless of your situation or answer, less is more. Don’t get caught up in the details, especially if you were fired. Attack the question straight on and express what you learned because of the situation. That’s it. Too many candidates find themselves oversharing and getting lost in the details. Keep your answer honest, straightforward, and concise to master this awkward interview question!